Big Storms Make Big Impressions – July 2012 Pennsylvania GMA

We were placed in a moderate risk area for severe weather on Thursday July 27th, 2012. Everything was in place to get dangerous yet magnificent storms. I haven’t had a lot of time to chase lately, basically none. Which is very rare, I have missed 7 chases in a row, but not this day! As storms fired up over lake Erie in NW  Pennsylvania , I collected all of my gear for the day and played a waiting game. I really wanted to photographed the storms in the evening around sunset so I picked southeastern, PA where is it flat and wide open in most areas. I get tired of chasing in the sticks, it’s too dangerous with falling trees and branches. Even though that doesn’t stop me, I choose to bypass that idea and go for the fields.

Setting up for the Shot

It is one thing to “chase”, but it’s another to capture your subjects in the most dramatic way. Composition, lighting, depth of field and exposure are all very important in creating stunning photos. If you don’t get it right the first time, you don’t have a second chance. I spent about one hour looking for a good spot to set up. I found many photogenic locations but parking was an issue, with cars and Amish Buggies all around, it became a challenge in itself. I finally found my spot as the storms approached from the Northwest.

It’s coming!

I had a few cameras rolling the entire time. Two running HD video and my “Beast” the Nikon D3, taking the stills.

Corn Storm

Corn Storm

The clouds were so dramatic this particular evening in SE PA. The right time of day, cloud thickness and the intensity of the storm all contributed to its beauty. Winds started to pick up and gusted to near 60mph. Some trees were completely snapped at the base, and I am talking 50 foot trees with a diameter of 2 feet! Dirt began to rise up from beneath to corn  as lightning began to dance about the horizon 3miles to my northwest. I knew there was a reason why I had to pass up chases earlier this year. It was because this storm had more to offer than most storms.

Sudden Death

Sudden Death

 I always feel like it’s me (Jeff Berkes) vs. Mother Nature when confronting  a storm, summer or winter.  I love to get right in front of them and feel the power it has to offer.  For me it is  just about experiencing an event. The photos come 2nd as a way to share my experience with others, but in reality, if I do not get good shots, I do get frustrated! I spent about 10 hours that day chasing and photographing instense lighting until the wee hours of the morning. I took over 1000 photos and shot around 5 hours worth of video. IHope to get to it soon so check back for more storms chasing photos from 2012.

Looking East

Looking East

This was looking east towards Philadlephia as the Shelf Cloud came overhead.

Barreling Through

Barreling Through

This photo is from looking down the other end of the road. Shelf Cloud / Wall Cloud passed overhead, I looked behind me and saw yet again some of the most dramatic and beautiful cloud formations. There was weak rotation, but lots of movement in the clouds, it was simply stunning. Another Severe Thunderstorm Watch has just been issued for our area until 10pm tonight. These storms will not form the incccredible line like we had on Thursday, but we could see some very intense winds and lightning. Have a safe weekend! More photo and videos to come!

Sunday on Good Morning America they are going to feature some photos I took from this Chase, be sure to check it out!

Major Winter Storm this Weekend?

Winter has been hard to find across the US this year. That may change this weekend as a possible Nor’Easter is on the horizon. As always, there are a few factors that play into this.. #1. Will the two storms collide and explode, #2 – Will there be enough cold air in place to support snow, # 3 –  The storm Track.  Here are the visuals curiosity of The Weather Channel.

The Ingredients for the Storm are here –

The southern and northern storms need to combine “Phase” over the lower US and ride up the coast.  The Low(s) will rapidly intensify (bombing out) creating one mega snowstorm for parts of the Northeast.

Scenario #1 – The main LP explodes in the mid-atlantic and northeast, moving up into New England.

The southern tier storms could turn north along the coast and combine with the northern tier storm, creating a full-blown blizzard.

Scenario #2

Depending if the Storm tracks north or not is one thing. The other is the exact storm track. How far inland is the low? Does it graze the coast? is it 40 miles off the coast? This decides where there will be enough cold air to support snow. South /East of the Low Pressure (LP) will see rain. North and east of the Low Pressure will see the heavy snow and often thundersnow.

Scenario #3 –  If the southern storm moves east and out to sea.. There would be no storm at that point. We need the energy of these two systems to combine and explode up the coast and we would need the storm to stay just off the coast, keeping the “Snow line” east of the I-95 corridor.

With that in Mind –

The possibilities are here and you should keep an eye on this for the next couple of days. You remember all the snow in the northeast the last couple of years including “Snowmageddon”, right? Scenario #1 is needed for a big snowstorm. We won’t know until around Saturday what will happen with this storm. I wish for a powerhouse nor’easter every year, so I want it to snow like there is no tomorrow. But time will tell. So many things need to happen in order for an epic storm to form. We know all to well that these storms are a staple for winter in the Northeastern US, now I am “wishing / hoping” we get “the Blizzard of 2012”

Snowstorms of the Past.

Deadly Snowstorm of  March 1993.

(Above) This could be Scenario #1 – Winter storms should never be taken lightly. Mother Nature should NEVER be taken lightly.

Pictures from recent Blizzards –

New Jersey 2010.

New Jersey 2010. Pennsylvania - February 2010 Christmas Storm 2010.

 

Snowmageddon - Southeastern Pennsylvania

Snowmageddon - Southeastern Pennsylvania

Nor'Easter Camping

Nor'Easter CampingA lot of people call me crazy, but to me, it's just like waking up and drinking coffee (and I do not drink coffee). I live for weather like this. I have camped in blizzards with my 4 season tent (as shown) where my tent has had 35" of snow on it and 60mph wind gusts blasts the walls of my shelter, temperatures in the teens with wind chills way below zero. For me it's all about the experience and just being out in the worst weather mother nature has to offer, I take the pictures so I can reflect on my adventures and share them with everyone who well... doesn't have that interest in braving the elements. Winter's Wrath

Snow on the Coast

Snow on the Coast32" of snow and 50-60mph winds gusts created unique drifts, in some unusual spots. Snowmageddon - West Chester , PA

 
 
Snowmageddon - West Chester , PA

Snowmageddon - West Chester , PA

 
A couple of college students venture out into the blizzard to get some coffee. What does this photo make you think of?
 
Ice Night

Ice Night

 Freezing rain gathers on anything it come in contact with.
 
Snowmageddon 2009

Snowmageddon 2009

 Keep your eyes on the TWC and local new stations as we watch these storms move across the US.

Where is the Snow?

Snowmageddon 2009

Snowmageddon 2009

It’s now January 17th, 2012. My car is clean, the roads aren’t stained with salt, the grass is green and I wore a t-shirt outside last week.  Is it really mid-January? The last time we had a  measurable snow was in October 2011 when we received 7″ of heavy wet snow during peak foliage conditions (the 100 year storm) so rare I was so excited for this event. I wonder if I had jinxed myself somehow that day though. I remember saying to myself  “I’m so happy I had the chance to photograph  snow during peak foliage conditions, I don’t care if we do not get anymore snow this year, I’m happy with this rare snowfall.”  (as seen below)

Combining Seasons

Combining Seasons

Well so far, besides two other dustings of snow, we haven’t seen anything. Philadelphia  has no snow this year, Boston has only have a couple inches.. What is going on? The last 2 years we have broken snowfall records time and time again.. Now it seems as the snow has run out. Some factor that play into the lack of snow are this. The jet stream is in a position which allows warmer air to flow up in front of the storm systems that ride along it and all storm are moving to our north and west, we need them to our south and east. Need a Greenland high pressure to help out.

  This Season Average season-to-date Last season-to-date
       
Boston 2.7″ 17.2″ 40.4″
Hartford 14.6″ 15.7″ 45.4″
New York 2.9″ 8.6″ 30.9″
Philadelphia 0.5″ 6.6″ 21.1″

As you can see snowfall is way below average for this time of year. In  previous years I had already found myself in handfull of snowstorms, this year, I struggle to find it anywhere.

December 2010

December 2010

 
Tree of Winter

Tree of Winter

 February Nor’Easter 2010 – Snowmageddon

Snow Camping  January 2010

 
 Snow Camping January 2010. Each winter I watch the forecasts like a Hawk wishing for a monster storm to ride up the coast. If / when it does I will be there waiting for it. I love how snow can transform any landscape urban or rural into something entirely different. Something as simple as a  tree in your backyard can turn into something new and beautiful.
On the Road

On the Road

 White out conditions make for deadly travel during the day and at night. I have documented some of the biggest snowstorms on the east coast and if it wasn’t for reliable equipment it could have been ugly a couple times.
 
Driving through 15" of snow

Driving through 15" of snow

 Being able to get around in snowstorms forced me to sell my old 1999 Chevy  Camaro SS a few years back (still miss her). I needed something that could handle every season and I couldn’t afford to get stuck in two inches of snow again with the SS.
 
Buried

Buried

 With a possible snow for the I-95 corridor this weekend, I will keep by eyes on the weather and hope for a snow. Winter better get it’s act in gear soon or I will have to think about moving to Canada. The jet stream needs to change its route, or we won’t see any major snowstorms this year. So far this winter it has stayed to my north and west, We need it t dip in the central US and ride up the eastern seaboard to get some heavy snowfalls.
 
Super Blizzard 35" of Snow 2010

Super Blizzard 35" of Snow 2010

 
 February Thundersnow
 
Battling the Cold

Battling the Cold

 
Protecting my gear/equipment  is just as important as protecting my well being.
 
Ice Night

Ice Night

 
The track a storm takes will determine where the snow/rain line will be. When warm air overrides colder air you can get sleet and freezing rain. Freezing rain is a nightmare, I can drive in 20″ of snow, I can’t drive in freezing rain.. unless it’s a flat road then maybe.  This particular night we had about one inch of freezing rain which brought down numerous trees and powerlines. It also turned the landscape into an incredible winter wonderland. As shown above.
 
Snow on the Coast

Snow on the Coast

 
Hope you have a winter filled up tons of snow!

Hurricane Irene Looks to Punish the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast This Weekend! This time I don’t think Mother Nature is Folding on this one.

I have grow up watching and chasing severe weather, for fun, and for somewhat of a living… I have seen many “potential” Hurricane’s and have survived a CAT 3/4 in Florida in 2004….  But this is actually making me as nervous as I am anxious.  I know it’s coming and I know it’s going to hit Cape May Point, NJ.. hard. I’m just a little cautious this time.. We will see how the storm developes over the next 24 hours and then I will make the final call.  Even if the storm doesn’t make a NJ landfall the Tropical Force and Hurricane Force winds will extend far from the center of Irene. I expect to hear about this storm for a long time. East Coast.. Get ready.. It’s going to happen this time.

You can see in this last Image that the “projected location for Irene” ..  The isobars (wind gradient) is wrapped in a bullseye over Southern Jersey, more specifically, directly over  Cape May Point, NJ Sunday August 28th, 2011.. A famous date for Hurricanes. Destructive Winds heavy rain, tornadoes, waterpouts, storm surge and coastal flooding is likely. . Keep yourself updated by watching TWC and your local news stations.Or through my Facebook as I will be posting live updates from the coast. The effects will reach far inland, so  millions of people could be without power and under-water. Cell phones most likely will not work and land lines should be used. CB’s etc.. This storm could make Floyd look like a joke. Be Safe.. More updates can be found on my Facebook Photography page “Jeff Berkes Photography”  Thanks and be safe!  I’ll plan on being at Cape May Point area by Saturday Early Am.

Photo of the Day: 2.9.2011 – Stormy Sunrise – St.Thomas, USVI. August 2006

 

Photo of the Day: 2.9.2011 – Stormy Sunrise –  St.Thomas, 2006

I woke up around 4am and was extremely pleased to see thunderstorm activity over the ocean. I anticipated a super sunrise so I left the resort and headed to the beautiful beaches on St. Thomas’ southeastern coast. I started off with lightning shots before dawn started to make its presence known, but It wasn’t until the storm passed less than two miles south of my position that things started getting interesting. The isolated thunderstorm became illuminated by the light of dawn, and was accompanied by lightning once again pouring out of the now glowing yellow, red, orange, purple and pink storm. The only problem was the pain and agony I was experiencing while taking these photos. I was being attacked by what is locally called No-Se-Um or Vampire Bugs. The bite of a sand flea really feels like the sting of a bee. It will leave big red dots and whitish welts wherever you have been hit. I had hundreds of welts on my legs, so please enjoy this picture!

Another Winter Storm Headed For Philadelphia Next Week.

 

UPDATE: 1.22.2011

Major Winter Storm Arriving Tuesday or Wednesday!

The track is unknown until we see where the center developes.  This is the situation:

1. If the Low tracks closer to the coast we could see a change over from snow to a mixture of snow, sleet and  freezing rain. Areas inland will see higher snow totals because of that.

2. If the Low is further off the coast. The air will remain cold enough and heavy amounts of snow will fall along the I-95 corridor.  As the storm nears, winds will intensify, creating blizzard  conditions which in result will cause downed trees and powerlines. Snow totals could range  anywhere between 6″inches  and  2 feet!! Keep an eye on my blog for future udpates!

Storm Track 1.

Storm Track 2.

Update:1.19.2011

 Yet another Winter Storm will impact us early next week. This one could have the potential to dump over 12″ of snow, maybe 2 feet! There is also the down side of receiving a wintry mix, or just plain rain. Let’s hope the storm stays off the coast just enough to keep us in the snow and get the big stuff! The track is uncertain as always, but one thing for sure is this storm is going to be a monster!

Here is the latest forecast model for Sunday, January 23rd, 2010. The yellow line is the potential track of the storm for next week. 

Some models have this thing exploding into a monster as it rides up the coast. This is going to be a significant weather event for millions of people. Keep your eye on your local forecast over the weekend. Just like a rain dance, a snow dance is always encouraged!

Hurricane ALERT! Will Earl Batter The Eastern Seaboard?

 

 

After a bitterly slow start to the 2010 Hurricane season, things are now firing up! Danielle, and now Earl have reached Category 2 status or higher.  Danielle is moving away from the mainland and is currently weakening, posing no threat to the US.  However; Earl is currently a Category 4 storm, packing winds sustained at 135mph and gusting to 165mph! Earl continues to intensify over the Caribbean while moving WNW.  Earl’s track is uncertain; some models indicate Earl to begin moving towards the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast just in time for Labor Day.  Stay Tuned! Even is Earl doesn’t make a US landfall, beach erosion, high surf and deadly riptides are definitely on the menu this weekend.

This is a life-threatening situation for anyone living in the path of this storm. Expect the best and prepare for the worst.